Before I started Smart Dolphins, I remember talking to my Dad about wanting to start a business. I was a little stymied because I didn’t know which of my skills would be worthy of taking to market. My Dad’s sage advice was, “you can always hire any skills you need in your business, so just look at what the market is demanding and what appears to be in short supply.”
I did end up starting Smart Dolphins and using my own IT skills for the first year or so, but I held onto my Dad’s advice. I knew from early on that I wanted to grow a great team and build some economies of scale with a larger company. That would mean that I would need to rely on others to be better at most things than me, including technical skills. Obviously, I needed to be a decent technician to get the company off the ground, but I’m quite proud to announce to the world that, today, I am not a tech. Not anymore.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe I need to have a strong understanding of our products and services and I do. However, I don’t think I need to know the intricacies of these things. In fact, I believe I SHOULDN’T know the intricacies of these things because if I did it would mean that I’m not focused on the important things within my current roles in the company.
From my observation at industry events, I am not the norm in our industry. It is rare to find a IT company that doesn’t have an owner who is deeply involved on a technical level. I’ll go to a conference and be chatting with other owners and they all want to talk geek with me. I typically get a funny reaction too when I tell them I’m not a tech. They typically keep the thought to themselves, but it is usually, “what the heck do you do then?” Well, that is a whole other topic for another day. Today, I’m just clarifying with the world that I own Smart Dolphins, a technology company, but I am not a tech.
I think most other IT business owners feel that “nobody will do it as well as I will”. I believe you can find someone for every single role in your company and have them grow into doing that role better than you ever could. I can say with certainty that Smart Dolphins is stronger technically now than if I had keep my nose in all the technical aspects of what we do.
This “announcement” also serves as a bit of a safeguard for myself too. My worst nightmare is going to a large public function that has some form of technical challenge and the whole room looks at me to save the day.
I’m not a tech!